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Minnis Deals Blow To Disney Critics

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis in Eleuthera on Thursday night. Photo: Yontalay Bowe/BIS

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis in Eleuthera on Thursday night. Photo: Yontalay Bowe/BIS

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

THE argument that Disney’s proposed Lighthouse Point project could damage the environment of the 700-acre peninsula in South Eleuthera will not sway the government as it weighs approving the project, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said during a town hall meeting on the island last night.

This is because a more damaging project – one that never materialised – was approved for the area in 2008 under the FNM government of Hubert Ingraham, he said.

“In 2008, a project was approved for South Eleuthera which allowed dredging and multiple canal networks in that same property,” he said, “dredging of the salt pond into the ocean, creation of marinas for mega yachts, provision of land for different homes, boutiques, etc, and this was what was approved for that property and some may argue that the land will be destroyed but this project which was approved would’ve caused more destruction than what is being looked at today.”

“...The argument about the destruction of the land will hold no water,” he said

Dr Minnis’ statement is a blow to environmental groups like the Bahamas National Trust, reEarth and Waterkeepers Bahamas which have sought to block Disney’s development and promote efforts to preserve the Lighthouse Point property. In 2008, a joint venture between The Related Group and Mortgage Hospitality Group for an 884-acre site in south Eleuthera was approved in principle. That proposed project, which came amid the recession, never took off.

Dr Minnis also sought to diminish expectations that the government could intervene to preserve the Lighthouse Point property. “The other thing which is very significant which is important for you to recognise is that the property in question is not owned by government,” he said. “It’s private property, one private investor selling to another. The government’s responsibility is to ensure its people get the maximum benefit.”

Dr Minnis said cabinet will decide whether to approve Disney’s project next week. He said the One Eleuthera Foundation, a group trying to block Disney’s deal, has made its own offer for the property. He said his team will consider that proposal when the group makes a presentation to it on Friday.

He made it clear, however, that the opinion of residents at last night’s town hall will factor greatly into cabinet’s decision.

“I am your employee,” he said. “You employ me. You are the employer. I am your servant, whether some may like it or not, it’s the facts and I come to hear tonight as an employee how my employer feels so I can take it back to my colleagues and make a definitive decision by next week.”

The views of most of those attending were overwhelmingly supportive of Disney’s project. Dozens wore T-shirts reading “We Love Disney”, “Disney Loves Eleuthera,” “Eleuthera loves Disney” and “Disney Respects Me” when they greeted Dr Minnis’ delegation at the island’s airport and during the town hall meeting that followed.

The few at the town hall who opposed Disney’s project were often drowned out by jeers when they expressed their view. Supporters derided the project’s critics, characterising them as out of touch with the needs and desires of south Eleuthera residents.

While he avoided voicing outright support for the Disney deal, Dr Minnis foreshadowed job opportunities will be coming to South Eleuthera soon.

“We recognise that for all the suffering that you have had and experienced in Eleuthera, many of the young people are leaving Eleuthera and going to Nassau,” he said. “That cannot continue to happen. Once we make that decision and jobs are provided, then it’s essential for you to have proper accommodations and that is why we have already identified proper land within the south so we could ensure you have proper infrastructure and even young people can purchase such facilities. With employment, you must have an opportunity to build your home.”

Comments

TalRussell 1 month ago

If only Comrade Eleutherans could've called on equally as foolish with words "Acee" to put meaningful words in prime minister's mouth - other than "I am here as Big Boss-Man's and Eleutherans are me plantation. workers..... and PM could've added, I'll be back brungs you new set foreigner settlers all ways from Bermuda with free some doses infectious smallpox vials hands out".

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Dawes 1 month ago

If the Government approves Disney (and it looks like this is a done deal), they must first ensure that at no point is less then 150 Bahamians (Bahamians not work permit holders) are employed as they said, in full time jobs. They should also then demand that these people are paid at 1.5-2 times the minimum wage as our minimum wage is not a living wage, this is so finally Bahamians benefit a bit more then we normally do when these companies come in. . Finally as Disney agreed the area would be open to all Bahamians whenever, this needs to be a part of the agreement, so if me and my friends want to go to the beach which happens to be on a day the ship is in, we are able to park our boats right on it, with no issues.

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TalRussell 1 month ago

Comrade Dawes, the PM will get minister labour Dion on site to enforce the Eleutheran Residents, Foreign Import Workers ratio? { Couldn't make up to trust your paycheques with 'most capable' labour minister Dion }. Likes Imperial red shirts featured circus's clown - landed on island Eleuthera with stock red t shirts - dyed green.... could be surplus stock from Comrade Bran's storage locker?

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Heatheroe 1 month ago

The two biggest employers in the South are Carnival Cruise (Princess Cays) and Half Moon Cay. If the people of the south have not benefited from those cruise ports so far, why do they think Disney will be any different? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome is crazy. I know that saying is cliche but it's so fitting here.

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licks2 1 month ago

Perhaps you should see them two things are not the same there fella. . .try taking a gander at the word CAY!!!

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TheMadHatter 1 month ago

"...we have already identified proper land within the south so we could ensure you have proper infrastructure and even young people can purchase..."

Once again, Bahamians have to PURCHASE the Crown land that Pindling threw the Mace out the window for.

Yall is now free slaves, but ya gats to buy ya own land. Only Haitian could get free land in the Bahamas.

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licks2 1 month ago

You can't buy crown land. . .unless you is the Chinese dealing with PLPs!! Not even them Haitians folks can buy crown land!! How you got on Haitians anyway?

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DDK 1 month ago

“...The argument about the destruction of the land will hold no water,” he said.

What about the destruction of THE WATER, Dr. Minnis?

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sucteeth 1 month ago

Problem with this whole deal is it will NEVER benefit any Bahamian or Bahamas. They will hire locals for cleaning, gardening, and other low wage jobs. Look at the other Disney Island as proof. Disney will extract every last cent out of the passengers and will leave nothing for the residents other than minimum wage jobs. Don't let this happen to this pristine island. There are many other places that are equally as nice in the Caribbean but Disney knows that the corrupt Bahamians can be bought as opposed to the others. There are no checks and balances in this country period. Just look at the Exuma tour boat disaster that is just the tip of the iceberg!! We have now become a 4th world nation!!

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licks2 1 month ago

Oh just shut up. . .or be truthful in ya reasoning!! No wonder Disney can make the whole bunch of yinna look like fools. . .yall talk too much nonsense!!

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bahamama 1 month ago

Dear Tribune Journalists,

Can y’all please look into Disney’s other deals with the Bahamas and tell us how Bahamians benefit from them?

Thank you

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TheMadHatter 1 month ago

Environmentalists need to look at the world population growth chart from 1900 to 2017. That's the root of the problem, but i don't hear a squeak out of them about it.

A baby is born. Baby grows up. Adult needs job and land to live on. Adult gets pregnant 5 times. 5 babies are born. 5 babies grow up. 5 adults need jobs and land to live on. Wash, rinse, repeat. We are up to 8 billion now. Dead fish washing up on shore.

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hrysippus 1 month ago

Madhater. Lokk for a book entitled "FACTFULNESS by Rosling. it will give you another perception on world population growth. It was published fairly recently. It also indirectly explains why the PLP stayed in power for 25 years.

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JackArawak 1 month ago

and now I am praying for accelerated sea level rise, these islands can't sink fast enough. That seems to be the solution to stop the foreigners from raping my home

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licks2 1 month ago

No. . .the solution is YINNA DUMB THINKING. . .POLITICAL MYOPIC LOSER MENTALITY. It's call free enterprise. These islands een sinking nowhere until the rest of the world sinks . . . until then. . .keep thinking like an Andros yard chicken. . .DOG WILL EAT YA LUNCH!!

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TalRussell 1 month ago

I challenge Comrades Imperial Red Shirts Prime Minister and Disney, along with the Tribune - to shut up the critics island takeover by simply publishing just one, yes, just one newspaper advert every paid for and published whereby Disney in all years operating in Bahamaland, has ever advertised or posted a single job position locally,,, nor can minister labour Dion provide proof of Disney ever posting a single job position with department of labour in all their many years operating in the Bahamaland? Don't believe those making rare stopover to your island peddle their Wonderland Snake Oil, even if it tastes all sugary sweet. The Preponderance evidence it will makes your tummies sick,,,, go asks Dr, Duane?

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sheeprunner12 1 month ago

HAM, Just make a sensible decision that may benefit Bahamians long term ......... that's all we can ask for.

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birdiestrachan 1 month ago

The question who bought the T SHIRTS? Disney??, to many Bahamians sell their souls. give them a T Shirt and it is over. lest we forget. " WE MARCH " Black T shirt with the white lettering. It meant nothing ZERO.

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birdiestrachan 1 month ago

Of course doc will approve Disney after all he approved OBAN

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jus2cents 1 month ago

Minnis, his flock of paid-off sheep, political cronies and Disney cohorts should hang their heads in shame. This is the single most sickening display of 'selling your soul' I have ever witnessed in this country, yes, this is a nation for sale, a nation where shameful politicos have run a muck for decades and with no punishment. But this, this is the most blatant display of disrespect, and he did it to his own people. I hope Karma is real, because its time that Karma-bitch needs to lay down some lessons on these thieves, lock them all up, this is criminal.

It is a crime against the whole nation and a crime that will be felt forevermore by generations of Bahamians. They will mock his shortsighted greed, and any accolades he puts on himself now, will be stripped off in the future. (National hero my foot!) He should know better and if he is truly this clueless, he should not be in any position of power.

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sheeprunner12 1 month ago

People are beginning to see Minnis for what he really is ....... a black Trump

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Porcupine 1 month ago

He should not be in a position of power. Minnis is incapable of critical thought. He is a showman, a poor one, but that's all he is. No substance. So sad to see people actually support him. Says a lot about this country's people.

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licks2 1 month ago

SO HE CAN THINK FOR HIMSELF? Yinna up against the big boys. . .stupid myopic silliness will not help yinna cause. . .I saw all of them white rich people them living in that area who want to keep it pristine for them. . .IT'S THE PEOPLES' LAND!! THEY WANT IT FOR THEIR CHILDREN THEM TO BE ABLE TO COME BACK HOME. . .NOT BE WHITE PEOPLE MAIDS AND GARDENERS THEM!! DOC WILL BE ELECTED AGAIN. . .THE MASSES MAKE GOVERNMENTS. . .NOT CLOAK AND DAGGER SCHEMES. . .

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themessenger 1 month ago

What do the people of Eleuthera expect to gain with the "150" jobs promised? More cleaning and janitorial jobs, more putting out beach furniture and cleaning up garbage is what will be on offer. Does any of them really believe there will be high paid positions on offer? They will be like Esau and will have sold their birthright and that of their children and children's children for a mess of pottage.

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sheeprunner12 1 month ago

Does anyone ever compare our Caribbean model of cruise tourism with that in the Pacific???????? ........... How come we cannot make any money here???

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DDK 1 month ago

Because our leaders are too crooked and care not a whit for The People!! They are the blatant personification of GREED!

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becks 1 month ago

150 jobs???? Bwahahahaha! More like 25-50 toilet-cleaning jobs.

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themessenger 1 month ago

Having just read a first hand account of last nights meeting from someone who was there, it seems clear that Dr. Minnis is still campaigning not governing!

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TheMadHatter 1 month ago

Sheeprunner ... excellent question. A BIG part of the answer lies in what i've been beating the drum about the past few weeks.

Independence Day celebrations !!!!

Every year tens of thousands of Bahamians come out in July to CELEBRATE.

The government looks at us and says "Look at dem bunch a jacks eh? We could do anything to them and dey gah dance with the same beat."

Boycott independence and change will come.

But it wont happen. Bahamians just love to talk and complain. Turn on some music and dey gah dance ... even if VAT was 112%.

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licks2 1 month ago

SO YOU DON'T READ BEFORE YOU TALK NONSENSE TOO AYE? Your cruise count went way up this period. . .and the IMF just released its projections for your next fiscal period. . .2.5 growth is expected!! These numbers were only seen in China for nearly two decades plus!! Doc don't need to talk to yinna bunch of self-blinded politicos. . .WHY WASTE THE TIME!! Common sense is not one of most of you strong suite. . .

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juju 1 month ago

There must be someone from Guana Cay, Abaco who can tell us how much their settlement benefitted from the Disney big red boat....

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TalRussell 1 month ago

Comrade Juju, have loads Abaco family members and they would shake their heads, suck teeth. before walking away if asked such unsettling, weighty question.

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ThisIsOurs 1 month ago

I hope those shirts could take at least four washes. Because that's all they gonna get. Why are Bahamians always so willing to give away so much for so little? And Minnis so transparent and shifty, he meeting with One Eleuthera after he already make up his mind. I wonder what the MPs getting out of the deal.

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DDK 1 month ago

This was not the transparency we wanted! What are they getting or how much? Three and a half years is too long for this bunch. The Country can't last that long.

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TalRussell 1 month ago

Any citizens comrade who dares challenge crown members Imperial Red Shirts Guard, are quickly Trump-ism attacked as being Enemies of the Imperial state.

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